Animals Pets 10

Lori Ann Smyth

June 3, 1969 ~ May 20, 2023 (age 53) 53 Years Old

Lori Smyth Obituary

Lori A. Smyth, a former broadcast promotions director and animal lover who was

a co-founder of Show Your Soft Side, a national anti-animal-abuse organization,

died of bile duct cancer Saturday at her mother-in-law’s Reisterstown home. She

was 53.

“Everything about Lori was big. She had a big voice, and everything you saw was

who she was. She was a big presence,” said Sande Riesett, a co-founder and

president of Show Your Soft Side.

“She was a force of nature and got rockers, athletes and celebrities on our

posters. She had such a big heart for animals,” she said.

Robert Lang, anchor at WBAL-AM, was both a friend and a colleague. “Lori was a

tireless advocate for animals, and that was her passion,” he said. “She and her

wife, Malinda, had five dogs and six cats.”

Lori Ann Smyth was born in Philadelphia and raised in Abington Township,

Pennsylvania. After graduating from Abington Senior High, she earned a

bachelor’s degree in 1990 in communications from what is now Millersville

University in Millersville, Pennsylvania.

Ms. Smyth began her career in broadcast promotion at WARM-AM in Lancaster,

Pennsylvania, and then moved to Baltimore in 1996. She worked as promotions

director at 98 Rock and WBAL-AM, until 2019.

In 1997, she met Malinda Davis, her future wife, who was promotion director for

Baltimore radio station WOCT-FM 104.3 the Colt, now known as WZFT. They

married in 2011 and lived in Reisterstown.


“She was a tireless promoter of the station, and she made sure that all of our

events were successful, whether it was for the Orioles and Ravens or the Polar

Bear Plunge, which raises money for Special Olympics,” Mr. Lang said.

“She had many trainees, and she launched careers. She could be the big sister,

drill sergeant or mother hen, but they all loved her. You couldn’t help but love

Lori,” he said.

Ms. Davis said, “She had a heart of gold and was a mom to all of her radio kids.”

Several incidents of animal abuse inspired Ms. Smyth to get involved, including

when Phoenix the dog was set on fire in 2009.

It was the maiming and torturing of cats and dogs that brought Ms. Riesett

together with Ms. Smyth and Caroline Griffin, who was then chair of Mayor

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory

Ms. Smyth shared the same outrage as Ms. Riesett, whom she did not know at

the time, when Phoenix was killed.

“It was 2011, and I was so upset and I came up with this idea for Show Your Soft

Side, and a friend said, ‘You have to meet Lori Smyth at 98 Rock,’” Ms. Riesett

recalled. “We met, and within five minutes, she said, ‘I’m in.’”

The three women launched Show Your Soft Side that same year. They enlisted

the support of actors, rock and country music stars and athletes, who agreed to

appear on posters that were placed in schools as part of a public service


Supporters were called “Softies,” and Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson, who

was joined by Orioles outfielder Adam Jones and MMA fighter John Rallo,

appeared on the organization’s inaugural three posters, posing with their pets,

with the slogan, “Only a punk would hurt a cat or dog.”

Their first campaign raised more than $200,000, and calls flooded in from all

around the world.

Show Your Soft Side visited classrooms and financially supported health care and

food initiatives for cats and dogs.

“We are not an animal rescue organization per se,” Ms. Riesett said. “We run a

number of programs that have become lifelines for Baltimore’s homeless cats

and Maryland’s abused and neglected dogs.

Ms. Smyth left 98 Rock and WBAL in 2019, and for the past several years had

been an administrative assistant in the Hoffberger Breast Center at Mercy

Medical Center, where she worked until last year, when she left on disability.

Two years ago, Ms. Smyth was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare bile

duct cancer.

“She spent her whole life taking care of others, and when she got sick, everyone

came out of the woodwork to care of Lori,” Ms. Davis said. “I told her she was

like George Bailey in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ always trying to take care of people.”

She continued working with Show Your Soft Side as “best she could, given her

health,” Ms. Davis said.

Because she was an avid Ravens fan, Ms. Smyth will be buried at Druid Ridge

Cemetery in Pikesville in a “purple casket with gold-colored handles,” Ms. Davis

said. “And those wishing to remember Lori can make donations to Show Your

Soft Side.”

A celebration-of-life-gathering will be held from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 7 at the

Irvine Nature Center at 11201 Garrison Forest Road in Owings Mills, where

services will be held at 1 p.m. June 8.

In addition to her wife, Ms. Smyth is survived by a sister and brother-in-law, Lisa

and Doug McNaul of Lancaster; mother-in-law Linda “Ma” Davis of Reisterstown,

in-laws Tom and Bonnie Davis of Timonium; brother-in-law and wife, Tad and

Jodi Davis of Jersey City, New Jersey; nephew Wynston and nieces Megan and


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June 7, 2023

3:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Irvine Nature Center
11201 Garrison Forest Rd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117

Funeral Service
June 8, 2023

1:00 PM
Irvine Nature Center
11201 Garrison Forest Rd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117

June 8, 2023

Druid Ridge Cemetery
7900 Park Heights Ave.
Pikesville, MD 21208


Show Your Soft Side
1501 Sulgrave Ave. Suite 100. Room "K", Baltimore MD 21209
Email: info@showyoursoftside


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